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Afghanistan

Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what her Department's latest estimate is of access to humanitarian food aid in Afghanistan; and if she will make a statement. [45369]

Clare Short: Since October 2001, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has delivered 370,000 metric tonnes of emergency food aid to the region; over 300,000 metric tonnes of which has been distributed within Afghanistan. WFP assistance is now successfully reaching 6.6 million people in Afghanistan. Needs have been met in most areas, but there remain pockets of unmet needs in places difficult to access due to poor weather and insecurity.

In response to this, WFP is deploying six helicopter-borne rapid assessment teams for assessment and delivery of emergency aid to remote areas in

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Afghanistan. The teams are tasked with streamlining food aid operations, assessing health conditions, investigating non-food emergency needs, monitoring food distribution and verifying reports by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on earlier food deliveries. If necessary, the helicopters will also allow WFP to airlift a limited amount of food aid on an emergency basis.

We have contributed #6 million towards WFP's operations inside Afghanistan—for both direct procurement and transportation of food, and for logistical support to help speed up the movement of food aid into the country. We have also supported a number of agencies—the UN, Red Cross and non-governmental organisations (NGOs)—for supplementary feeding and secondary distribution of food inside Afghanistan.

Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what financial aid the Government plans to give the FYR Macedonia in the next six months. [45239]

Clare Short: We are providing #3 million to the Government of Macedonia for bilateral balance of payments support. The EC has allocated euros 68 million financial aid of which the UK share is #7.93 million.

Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what economic aid has been given to the Government of FYR Macedonia by the UK Government in each of the last three years; [45246]

Clare Short: During the period 1998 to 2001 DFID has provided #15.041 million of aid of which #12.345 million was humanitarian support. During the same period the EC has provided #139.8 million of assistance of which the UK share is #26.72 million.

International Institute for Democracy and

Electoral Assistance

Tony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will affiliate the United Kingdom to the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. [46295]

Clare Short: My Department is currently discussing with the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance the possibility of working together on specific topics. We are not at this stage considering affiliation.

Commonwealth Development Corporation

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when she expects the public-private partnership of the Commonwealth Development Corporation to be completed. [44756]

Clare Short: The Government's objectives for CDC is to mobilise increased private investment in developing countries. This is a long-term project which will take many years to complete.

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New Deal

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many people have been employed by her Department in each of the last three years under (a) the New Deal for Young People, (b) the New Deal for the Over 50s and (c) the New Deal for Lone Parents; and at what cost, listed by category, to public funds. [44909]

Clare Short: The information is as follows:

199920002001
New Deal for Young PeopleNil22
New Deal for the Over 50sNil2Nil
New Deal for Lone ParentsNil1Nil

The cost to public funds, excluding salary costs, was #1,950 in the over 50s category, and #1,080 in the young people category, all incurred in the year 2000.


Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many people employed by her Department under the New Deal for Young People in each of the last four years have subsequently (a) found unsubsidised employment for more than 13 weeks and (b) returned to jobseekers' allowance or other benefits. [45087]

Clare Short: The information is as follows:



Commodity Dependence

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what help her Department is providing to people dependent on the sale of commodities in the developing world. [43667]

Clare Short: The production and sale of commodities is very important to the livelihoods of people in developing countries. For a significant number of the least developed countries commodities account for more than 50 per cent. of merchandise exports. Price volatility is a characteristic of many commodity markets (such as cocoa, coffee and tea) and reflects changing patterns of consumption and production.

DFID believes that better livelihoods for poor people must be at the centre of any strategy for poverty reduction. DFID is currently supporting a significant number of livelihood programmes and projects throughout the developing world. These seek to provide direct benefits to poor people, including those whose livelihoods are linked to commodities. The range of commodities involved is extensive and includes fish, cut flowers, horticultural products, cereals, beverages, oilseeds, as well as roots and tubers.

Improving developing country access to international and regional markets is very important to encourage more processing of commodities and more value added. DFID is working with developing countries to strengthen their capacity in trade. We are also working to tackle tariff and non-tariff barriers to developing country exports, especially those that exist in the

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European Union. DFID provides support to initiatives that provide more timely market information, contributes to improvements in essential infrastructure (including energy and transport) and works to ensure appropriate legal and regulatory frameworks exist to promote investment.

Human Rights Act

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many cases have been brought against her Department under the Human Rights Act 1998; and what has been the cost in (a) legal fees to defend cases and (b) compensation payments. [45058]

Clare Short: There have been no such cases.

Aid Funding

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what aid funding was made available by her Department to countries during 2001. [43941]

Clare Short: In 2000–01, the last complete financial year, my Department spent #1.4 billion on bilateral development assistance in 167 countries and #1.3 billion through our donations to multilateral development agencies. In 2001–02 bilateral spending is estimated to rise to #1.65 billion in a similar number of countries while our contribution to multilateral development agencies is projected to increase to #1.4 billion.

Prison Labour

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will list the countries with which her Department had discussions in 1998 with regard to the use of prison labour for making goods imported into the United Kingdom; and if she will make a statement. [43925]

Clare Short: My Department has had no such discussions, in 1998 or since.

Third World

Mrs. Irene Adams: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what action the Government are taking to alleviate illiteracy in the Third World. [43931]

Clare Short: Helping developing countries achieve the millennium development goal of universal primary education by 2015 is DFID's major focus for tackling illiteracy. Increasing access to good quality primary education and ensuring that children are literate when they leave school is essential for development and poverty reduction. Since 1997 the Government has committed over #650 million to support sustainable education systems in developing countries able to provide high quality primary education for all children. We will do more.

We will also give increasing attention to helping developing countries tackle adult illiteracy and poverty reduction. Improving literacy practice for adults continues to be an integral part of many different sectoral programmes supported by DFID, such as

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transport, water, health, small business development, environment, livelihoods and governance. Our new Background Briefing paper, XImproving livelihoods for the poor: the role of literacy", examines the way in which literacy features in such programmes and the key issues that have emerged as different parts of DFID have considered the ways in which literacy and poverty interrelate. It highlights principles of good practice (drawing on recent experience), examines potential entry points and identifies challenges for DFID in giving greater priority to literacy in our commitment to poverty reduction.


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